(BPT) - Tighten the purse strings. Balance the budget. Cut back. There are many ways to say it, but the current economy has millions of Americans doing the same thing: struggling to make ends meet. Wouldn't it be nice to alleviate the financial pressure?
For some people, this means asking for help. Four in 10 people have asked their loved ones for money over the past year to deal with the rising cost of living, according to an Herbalife survey of 8,500 respondents across 10 countries, including 2,000 Americans. Results show respondents are relying on others for help with essentials, including groceries (40%) and their rent or mortgage (29%).
Asking for help is hard to do, but it's certainly not reflective of people's lack of effort. In fact, 56% of respondents currently have a side hustle or other form of supplemental income. Of those people with side hustles, 55% shared they started it solely to make ends meet, 40% to deal with the rising cost of living, 38% to be less reliant on a single source of income and 36% wanting to have a disposable income.
"In addition to providing an extra source of income, many side hustles are flexible, allowing people to work at their own schedule,' explained Ibi Montesino, Herbalife's executive vice president of distributor and customer experience. "Our research shows that on average, most people say that they'd need to earn about $404 more per month to live comfortably.'
The research also shows that those with a side hustle commit an average of about eight and a half hours per week to that side hustle. But that time can vary: 28% dedicate 3-5 hours a week to their side hustle, while 24% devote 6-10 hours per week.
If you think a side hustle might be helpful for you, there are many options based on your interests, resources and availability. Some people care for kids or pets, while others may do house cleaning, landscaping or other handy work. These types of side hustles can help you save money, but it can be challenging when you're solo and don't have a support system.
Another option that some people find is a better fit is direct selling. This is when you are an authorized representative that sells products for a company, and the big benefit is that there is often training and a support system to help you succeed.
'The increased cost of living is causing people to search for supplemental income streams. Direct selling provides flexibility and a support system that positions you to reach your goals,' said Humbi Calleja, Herbalife's vice president and general manager, North America.
If you're interested in direct selling, it's important to find an opportunity that works best for you. Montesino and Calleja recommend these simple tips to help people find the right network marketing company:
Pinpoint the ideal product or service: Finding a consumable product that sells consistently and needs replacement is a great option. Choose something you're passionate about because you're more likely to dedicate time and effort to it.
Learn about the company: Before deciding what company to move forward with, researching their background is a must. Typically, the longer the company has been in business, the more experience it has.
Determine start-up costs: Once you identify the right company for you, determine the cost of the start-up kit. It will contain everything you need to get started and run your business.
Study the compensation plan: This shows you how the company plans to incentivize and reward your hard work. It will also give you an idea of income expectations, income frequency and how long it will take to reach your goals.
Confirm marketing support: Aside from your start-up kit, having access to marketing support helps grow your business. For example, the company should help you identify the target market to understand your customers better and provide online marketing resources to help you launch effective promotions.
Research training opportunities: Ongoing training and opportunities to connect with people going through the same experience will help inspire you and enable you to run your business better.
Opportunity for growth: Ensure that the company has demonstrated continuous growth opportunities and is committed to helping you with resources and support as you strive to reach your goals.
No one can predict what the economy will do in the future, but you can take control of your finances by adding an extra income stream. Start by researching opportunities and choose the right one for you.